When it comes to broadband Internet at sea, an offshore cruising race on a pleasure vessel isn’t what immediately comes to mind. Visions of Volvo Ocean Race OBRs furiously submitting copy to faraway press offices might be more the speed. But, Inmarsat has created their new Fleet One system with a compact terminal design to fit smaller vessels. Easily installable on the masthead or with a mounting system, the Fleet One antenna weighs just 2.5kg and measures 27.5 x 22.1cm.
While the connection speeds were not comparable to on-land broadband, 300+ miles offshore the system did not disappoint. Not only could I submit text blog posts, but I could also upload images taken on my iPhone, send emails, load the Yellow Brick tracker in the browser and use the satellite phone tied into the system. The Fleet One system also has the capability to handle a Wi-Fi router, to connect smart phones and tablets.
Though our installation was temporary, the system is designed for permanent installation and use. Because Inmarsat offers seasonable flexibility, without lengthy contracts and the option for a pre-paid usage for a specific time period, the system can be switched on and off to avoid unnecessary expenses. It’s an excellent solution to offshore communication challenges on smaller boats, without breaking the budget for the high-octane professional systems on the market. For more on the system, visit Inmarsat.com
A special thank you to Inmarsat for loaning SW Editor Lisa Gabrielson a Fleet One system for the 2015 Marion to Bermuda Race. Check out the blog here.